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Windows Server 2012 Essentials Done

Trailing its big brother by two months, Windows Server 2012 Essentials is finished and was sent to hardware makers this week (Release to Manufacturing).

It's odd there is this lag behind Windows Server 2012, but with hardware makers expected to have it in the market next month, it surely qualifies for the 2012 handle.

Essentials is what was formerly known as Small Business Server 2011. As is now customary, Microsoft changes appellations for no apparent reason.

Essentials is both more and less than Windows Server 2012 delivers. On the lesser side, it can't handle as many users -- just 25. It also can't be set up with the GUI-less Server Core configuration. And while its predecessor came with Exchange, now that must be bought separately.

On the more side, many items were designed with lesser-experienced IT types in mind. Certain server roles such as IIS and Active Directory come already turned on. Also, hooking up to Redmond cloud services is also designed to be as easy as possible.

The dashboard interface is clearly for the newer IT person (or an in-house manager for whom IT is not a full-time job). There are tabs that offer shortcuts to common areas of need such as "Applications," "Storage," "Users" and "Devices."

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/10/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 Mike SC

I have several clients that have 3-10 employees running SBS 2008 and 2011 with exchange. Once its set up I have never had to go back for any issues on the mail side other then looking at logs, and very little on the server side. I seem to spend more time with email issues for companies that have moved to some type of hosted email system. The 2011 SBS has been a super stable platform, hope it continues!

Wed, Oct 10, 2012 Matthew Borcherding San Jose, CA

It makes very little sense anymore to run an in-house Exchange Server if you have 20 users or less. If probably doesn't make sense until you reach 50 users or so. And maybe even beyond that. (Exception: your broadband bandwidth is awful.) If you want Exchange in a smaller site, get a hosted version. There are lots of providers for this. So a version of Windows Server with Exchange bundled in is no longer that compelling for most small sites.

Wed, Oct 10, 2012

This is incorrect. Essentials is NOT the replacement for SBS 2011. SBS is a completely different product with different features and higher user license max. Also, there is not going to be a Windows 2012 server based version of SBS. An Essentials version of 2008 exists and that is what this product is an upgrade for.

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